Hanging In The Balance, Xperia X8 And Android 2.1

Some eagle eyed bloggers have noticed that O2 UK has recently posted a page here promising that the Sony Ericsson X8 Xperia Android handset should become available this September [2010]. Whilst the pages offer a good deal of technical information about the handset, the version of Android which it will be released with is most notable for its absence. Will with be 1.6 or 2.1. Or even Froyo (2.2).

If you look back to the Sony Ericsson blog on the subject of the X8 Xperia – which the handset vendor itself appears to have christened the SexperiaX8 – the company was quite adamant that the release version of the Android software was very much in the air. This is what the blog actually said, “The launch release of Android OS for the Xperia X8 is still to be determined.

As the improved timing for Android 2.1 availability now coincides with the launch window for Xperia X8, we are currently discussing with our customers the most appropriate way to bring the product to market for each operator in each country.

Xperia X8 will either launch on Android 1.6 with a subsequent upgrade to Android 2.1 a few weeks later or will launch on Android 2.1. The final decision will be taken on a market-by-market basis.”

Now that blog is actually dated June 16th 2010 and it should come as no surprise that it has received not less than 355 responses (at the time of writing).

The blog was also talking about dates for the release of Android 2.1 for other Xperia handsets in the X10 series which it said [in June] would be either late Q3 or early Q4 2010.

This has lead to one surfer to speculate … “Froyo would have to be the minimum you guys release [for the X10] before the end of the year since the Motorola Droid and Google Nexus One already have it.

The functionalities of Froyo are the minimum to keep the X10 in competition with the other ones on the market.” Which is a good point.

Given that Sony Ericsson should have 2.1 going on Xperia X10 handsets in September anyway, it is hard o see why it would bother to launch the X8 with 1.6. Why go to all the support hassles that would generate?

One thing which the Android OS is making painfully clear – the traditional handset vendors just can’t keep up with the expected rate of technology change which web users have become so accustomed to.

Somehow the mobile operators and handset manufacturers have got to get together and work out how to slash testing times so that accommodating an operator’s specific requirements gets easier and easier to achieve.

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